California has a reputation for being one of the areas of origin for the modern cannabis movement. Yet, despite growing national acceptance, the state has yet to legalize recreational cannabis and its medical marijuana laws are outdated and confusing to the point of madness.
In an article from the Sonoma Independent called “Stop Incarcerating Parents for Victimless Marijuana Crimes,” a bright light has been shined upon Sonoma County’s clandestine war on cannabis. The story focuses on a man named Yarrow Kubrin, who was recently to be sentenced to four years in prison stemming from a conviction he received four years ago. His crime? He was growing medical cannabis in complete compliance with state laws.
Kubrin, now a real estate broker, tax payer, and doting husband and father, had his sentencing delayed due to the fact that hundreds of people showed up at the courthouse to voice their support for him. Sonoma county voters are heavily in favor of both medical and recreational cannabis, yet district attorneys and law enforcement officials have acted in contravention of their salary-paying residents.
Kubrin put great effort into operating a transparent, legally sound cannabis collective. He was busted for depositing large amounts of cash in a bank. California medical cannabis laws dictate that taxes must be paid and meticulous books must be kept by collectives, but that’s kind of challenging without a checking account. Kubrin was rejected by several banks before his lawyer escorted him into one that finally accepted his business, a cash-heavy business.
Yet, by doing so, Kubrin apparently violated banking rules and was promptly arrested. The vice president of the bank that accepted his business is a retired police detective. He grew suspicious of the large cash deposits and took the case to the Sheriff’s office. What followed was the typical SWAT-style raid complete with heavily armed officers and jackbooting.
The article goes much deeper into the nitty-gritty, and it’s definitely worth a read. Sonoma County is a microcosm of the whole ridiculous dance of legal but not legal weed businesses. Kubrin’s attorney says that the waste of resources is utterly insane. He says that Sonoma county can’t afford to fill potholes and the local library has had to close its doors one day a week due to budget shortcomings, yet they are pushing victimless pot crimes through the system at an alarming rate. Kubrin, if convicted, will cost the tax payers more than $200,000 to incarcerate. More than that, it will pull him from his family and remove a responsible taxpayer from the community, further deepening the hole.
It’s hard not to think that the prison/justice system is not willfully taking advantage of the muddled laws to exploit overreaching property seizure laws and keep their coffers full when common needs like infrastructure and libraries are falling into disrepair. It’s a racket. They are punishing people who are trying their absolute best to follow the rules for nothing more than money. Once again, this proves that cannabis is not the problem, the laws are simply unjust.